R Ashwin has become the first batter to be tactically retired out in the IPL, by Rajasthan Royals against Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday evening.
A batsman retires out if he retires without the umpire’s permission and does not have the permission of the opposing captain to resume his innings.
This was done by the RR team in the tenth over presumably to allow the regular No. 6 Riyan Parag a more suitable point of entry. Ashwin walked off after two balls of the 19th over, having scored 28 runs off 23 balls. Parag ended up scoring eight off four balls. The move bumped up Royals’ projected score from 152 to 159, with Shimron Hetmyer finishing it up with 165.
Hetmyer told Star Sports in the mid-match interview that he had no clue about the move, which does explain the shocked expression on his face when Ashwin walked off during Avesh Khan’s over. It wasn’t yet clear who initiated the move: Ashwin or the dugout.
“If such a return does not occur, the batman is marked as ‘retired out’ and this is considered a dismissal for the purposes of calculating a batting average.”
This mode of dismissal has long been anticipated as the next innovation in T20 cricket because the innings in T20 cricket are so short teams want to maximise each ball, and can’t afford a less-than-ideal batter batting in situations suited to other batters.
“I think as the coach I got one call wrong, not sending Riyan Parag ahead of Rassie van der Dussen and holding Rassie back, so we couldn’t get the full benefit of Riyan, but I thought the way Ashwin handled that situation, walking in under pressure, the way he batted to support the team, and then finally sacrificed himself in terms of being retired out, was just magnificent, and then he went out in the field and backed it up with an excellent, excellent bowling effort,” Kumar Sangakkara, the Royals head coach said.
Royals’ captain Sanju Samson reiterated the same during the post-match presentation.
“It’s about being Rajasthan Royals. We keep trying different things. We have been talking about it before the season,” Samson said. “We thought that if some situation occurs, we can use it. It was a team decision.”
This was the first tactical retired-out dismissal in the IPL, but it has happened before in the format, even in international cricket. In 2019, in the South Asian Games, Bhutan’s Sonam Togbay retired out at the end of the 19th over against Maldives.